The Naked Boy on the Famous Album Cover

by Martin Ott

Did not become a model or exhibitionist,
but always felt a backwards yank
like one of those children on a leash.
In college, he used the line “I’ve shown
you mine now show me yours” to cash
in on junior celebrity status, unfocused
on the future, unwilling to contemplate
swaddling himself in uniforms and suits.
The vibe of that album was a siren
seducing him to be daredevil, clown,
skinny dipping in a pool of shadows
that could not hold a half-formed shape.
Driver’s license, graduation, wedding,
the picture kept coming, challenging
him to face the mirrors and idolatry,
to float in static and epiphanies,
babydom stripped away to reveal
the tricks of light, the man within.


Martin-Ott-1Martin Ott is a former U.S. Army interrogator who currently lives in Los Angeles and still finds himself asking a lot of questions. His poetry and fiction has been published in more than 100 magazines and anthologies. His poetry book “Captive” won the 2011 DeNovo Prize and will be published on C&R Press in 2012. Poets’ Guide to America – a collaboration with John F. Buckley – will be published on Brooklyn Arts Press in 2012.

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